ONLY A TRUE CITY SINCE incorporating in 1984, West Hollywood’s fame as an LGBTQ+ destination goes back much further. In the 1950s, a nightclub called Ciro’s hosted the world’s first Sunday afternoon tea dances for gay men. In 1984 the city elected its first openly lesbian mayor, and in 1985 West Hollywood also became the first U.S. city to legally recognize same-sex relationships. Today more than 40 percent of its residents identify as LGBTQ+, and Visit West Hollywood, the city’s tourism organization, plays up the city’s appeal with LGBTQ+ globetrotters. If you want to see what a modern LGBTQ+ community looks like, this is the place.
Navigate West Hollywood easily by breaking it down into three main districts: the Sunset Strip, lined with hotels, restaurants and entertainment; the West Hollywood Design District, where shoppers pick up the latest designer styles; and Santa Monica Boulevard, serving as a hub for the city’s LGBTQ+ nightlife. Here locals and visitors alike stop at popular venues like the Abbey, a restaurant by day and a dance club by night; GYM, an LGBTQ+ sports bar; and Fiesta Cantina, a relaxed LGBTQ+ bar also serving Mexican food.
If bar food isn’t your thing, not to worry. West Hollywood overflows with sophisticated dining options, including Aburiya Raku for Japanese, Connie and Ted’s for seafood, and E.P. + L.P. for pan-Asian dishes. Or for a lively drag brunch, consider taking a table at Hamburger Mary’s, where drag bingo and live entertainment are part of the experience.
Top accommodation choices include Andaz West Hollywood, a legendary hotel once nicknamed “Riot House” because of the flocks of misbehaving rock stars and celebrities who stayed there. Jim Morrison, Led Zeppelin and Little Richard may be long gone from its corridors, but the property has been reborn with stylish décor, an excellent rooftop pool and extensive amenities like a free daily wine hour. Other noteworthy upscale hotels include the elegant Sunset Tower Hotel; trendy The Standard, Hollywood; and the swanky Mondrian LA.
June will prove an especially festive time to visit West Hollywood this year when the city hosts the 50th anniversary of LA Pride, Southern California’s largest LGBTQ+ pride event. Look for multiple days of live music, dance and parties, as well as a vibrant parade along Santa Monica Boulevard.
I imagine that when writer Hans Christian Andersen mused, “Life itself is the most wonderful fairy tale,” he was standing at the edge of Copenhagen’s historic Tivoli Gardens, one of his favorite haunts, enlivened by the swirl of human happiness that surrounded him: children laughing; carousels spinning; games of chance played for prizes; lovers holding hands; hungry people whispering over sweets, hot drinks, beer and towering, open-faced smørrebrød, Denmark’s quintessential sandwich. That fairy tale lives on today at the second-oldest amusement park in the world, a spectacle of folly architecture, bakeries, gardens, rides, restaurants, puppet shows and joy ... and which also happens to be one of the city’s most storied places to convene for business.
GBTA’s Convention 2021 will bring the business travel industry together for the first time in a long time. Once again, you’ll learn and connect with experts and each other, along with discussions with leading thinkers, entrepreneurs and change makers addressing the issues that matter most.
The restored Park Hyatt Toronto reopened its doors, bringing luxury, sophistication and glamour alongside a nod to the hotel’s Canadian heritage. Alessandro Munge of Studio Munge collaborated on the hotel’s refresh, drawing inspiration from Canada’s seasons and natural landscapes.
I recently dined at Irwin’s in Philadelphia. The restaurant is located on the rooftop of the Bok Building, a former school turned collective of small businesses, non-profits, artist workshops, a bar and restaurant. I previously visited Bok for the bar and yoga classes, and I was excited to experience the restaurant.
Without a doubt, the pandemic changed the role of airports in the travel industry. Hamad International Airport’s role evolved in many ways since the pandemic hit. Now, more than ever, airports are responsible for creating a secure passenger experience. As the gateway to Qatar and the world, the safety and wellbeing of staff and passengers has always been at the core of Hamad International Airport’s strategy.
The Global Business Travel Association, the world’s largest business travel and meetings trade organization, recently released a statement from GBTA CEO Suzanne Neufang regarding the Biden administration’s recent announcement that the U.S. travel ban will be relaxed in November for vaccinated travelers from 26 Schengen countries, the United Kingdom and Ireland.
Arriving early afternoon in Puerto Rico, we jumped in an Uber and took a short, 15-minute drive from the airport to La Concha. As it was Tuesday, the streets were not too busy and the hotel lobby was calm. During the weekend, the scene likely would have been more bustling. We were greeted by a staff member who requested proof of vaccination and government-issued ID, and were given a wristband to indicate we were fully vaccinated. All guests are required to be vaccinated and wear masks at all times while moving around the hotel. Hand sanitizer stations were placed around the lobby, in elevators and in each common area.
Since its prestige for attracting the world elite grew in the 1960s, Greece remains the go-to destination for glittering holidays. Each step of the journey is enrobed in luxury, from culinary traditions with the highest standard of execution and name-brand, high-end shopping to first-rate wellness locales and elite accommodations, like 5-star hotels, private villas and yachts.
The Rittenhouse has long stood out as one of Philadelphia’s finest hotels, centrally located in one of the city’s poshest neighborhoods. Needless to say, I knew I was in for an afternoon of luxurious pampering when I hopped in my car and headed down I-95 from my suburban home to the heart of the City of Brotherly Love. As I drove through the seemingly endless roadwork on the highway, I realized just how long it had been since I’d driven this once-familiar route into the city as a result of the pandemic. Of course I was eager for the relaxation and bliss that was in my future, but it was also a welcome feeling to head back into Philadelphia for a moment of normalcy.